Commercial Loan Officer vs, Commercial Mortgage Broker

What is your opinion of working at a commercial mortgage division of a bank versus a mortgage brokerage firm? I am interested your perceived Pros and Cons.

I currently work as a loan analyst at a commercial bank and and wanted to know how my position compares to the brokerage side.

Real Estate Modeling Course

  • Real-life RE Modeling Tests from actual Interviews
  • Various asset classes including multi-family, commercial and more
  • Huge discount - until more tests and cases added

Comments (25)

Nov 12, 2013 - 1:25pm

People have squabbled endlessly over terminology on here, so I'll start by saying that it sounds like you're talking about an intermediary vs working directly for the lender (bank). I would say, "It depends." Would I rather work at BofA doing balance sheet loans than in the debt placement group at Marcus & Millichap? Yes. Debt placement at HFF vs balance sheet loans at BofA? HFF. Debt placement at HFF vs CMBS origination at Goldman Sachs? GS.

Nov 12, 2013 - 3:34pm

I think it will depend based on the organization, but at our bank the commercial loan officers wear several hats--their job is to originate business, compile important documentation (sort of like a processor's job), manage current clients and assist with loan reviews and renewals. Their compensation is based on a holistic review of how well they produce, manage clients, quality of borrowers, and how well they work with credit and management. Generally speaking, loans are produced by managing current and past relationships with top clients and then bringing on a few new clients each year and weeding out the poorly performing borrowers or the low production borrowers. Loan terms are highly, highly negotiated and are very borrower specific.

Commercial mortgage brokers, on the other hand, have one job and one job only--that's to produce a loan. Generally speaking, they produce business any way they can--old, new, good, bad, etc. They wear one hat--production. Their job is to bring in business and place a loan with the best terms publicly available. I would think these loans are much more likely to be turned into CMBS.

Nov 12, 2013 - 10:05pm

Loan analyst for the origination group is not the same as a commercial loan officer. The loan analyst is generally someone under 30 who works for the loan officer or the origination group at large; he typically will have limited experience in the business--he typically will do high level underwriting to make sure the transaction passes the sniff test. For example, he'll run lease comps or cap rate comps to see if the transaction even passes the eyeball test. Once an experienced loan officer and a loan analyst have worked together to make sure the file passes the eye ball test then the file can go into processing and underwriting.

So your friend isn't the loan officer. He's basically the loan officer's assistant.

Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Nov 16, 2013 - 9:58pm

I too am working as a "loan analyst" but I am on the commercial mortgage brokerage side rather than the bank side. I was wondering as how my role would compare if I was working on the "lender" side compared to the side I'm currently on (mortgage broker).

I'll chime in on how I spend my day, mostly creating marketing materials and client deliverables with some market research, details below.
1) Creating Loan Request Packages - on behalf of clients (for details google "loan request package" CCIM provides a great overview, I can't post links just yet). Once the package is created, we submit this to our lender partners, some lenders will want to proceed and offer a Term Sheet. Hopefully more than one lender shows interest (Term Sheet) and we advise the borrower and select the best financing option.
2) Loan Quotes - as stated above, CM brokers are always hunting for new business. CM Brokers solicit themselves in order to provide financing quotes to go along with property salespersons marketing materials. The underwriting on these is more back of the envelope, and we provide a few options with all the potential terms laid out.
3) Loan Processing - this is the least fascinating part; this involves pre filling out documents and loan applications, collecting files etc. Very administrative.
4) Market Research – Sales Comps, finding new properties for sale, finding new banks to add as partners, mining databases to see what banks/brokerage firms are financing recent deals in the markets we cover.

I'm curious what it would be like working for a lender in house, I could only imagine how much BS is required on the lender side if one is providing Fannie Mae/GSE financing.

Best Response
Nov 16, 2013 - 10:00pm

The Loan Request Package
The key to maximizing the loan amount and getting the best terms is to present the lender with a well-thought-out loan request package. Lenders are overwhelmed with loan requests today and they focus on the deals that require the least amount of time. If they don't understand your request or if there is missing or incorrect information, they will likely put the deal behind other requests that they can quickly review and quote.

Here is a checklist of information lenders look for:

Specific loan request including the loan amount, term, and amortization
Physical address of the property
At least eight color photos of the property
Legal name of the ownership entity, including the general partner or managing member names and percentage ownership
The current rent roll, including tenant names, square footage and space size, move-in dates, and monthly rent
Physical occupancy for the trailing 12 months (month by month)
Rent collections for the trailing 12 months (month by month)
Copy of the standard lease agreement
Recent rent delinquency report
Description of construction (Concrete, brick, or metal?) and property details (On-site apartment for management? On-site property management office?)
Rent comparables for similar properties in the area
Actual balance sheets and profit and loss statements for 2009, 2010, and year-to-date 2011. Describe any income dips and out-of-the-ordinary or non-recurring operating expenses
List of immediate repairs
Description of major improvements made to the property in the past five years
Copy of a previous appraisal, if available
Résumé on the borrower, including Web site
Year the property was acquired and what the acquisition cost was (contract price plus closing costs)
Balance on the existing loan, along with the lender name, maturity date, and interest rate, as well as a copy of the latest mortgage statement; provide same information for second mortgage
List of environmental issues
Description of any exceptions that may show up on title, such as easements, parking, liens, etc.
Explanation of any irregularities, such as above-average vacancy or unusually high or erratic operating expenses or income
Indication of the combined net worth and liquidity of the key principals within the borrowing entity
Description of any past or present loan defaults, lawsuits, foreclosures, bankruptcies, or any other credit issues

Nov 24, 2013 - 8:14pm

So what would the compensation be structured for a commercial loan officer? From what I am reading above bank loan officers are compensated depending on a number of factors including: the quality of the loans they originate, quality of the borrower and the smoothness of the transaction. The mortgage brokers just get a flat fee, usually 1%, of the loan amount.

Lets say the commercial loan officer produced 200 Million in loans in 1 year. What would they most likely make at a commercial bank? ....Mortgage brokers would have 2 Million in fees(split with the brokerage company, obviously).

Which one do you guys prefer?

Nov 24, 2013 - 8:44pm

A $200 million commercial loan officer is a valuable loan officer. He's obviously doing something right, although he could have 4-5 deals that would produce $200 million in loans. His deals, however, are assisted by his extensive staff, management's flexibility with terms, quality of depository services, and other things that may be outside of his control. Just ball parking that a $200 million producer may make around $175,000 - $200,000/year. Doesn't seem like a lot for that amount of production, but like I said, that could just be 4 or 5 deals from 3 or 4 clients who are using the bank because of the overall package, which includes the loan officer relationship.

Mortgage broker producing $200 million/year--yikes, that's hard to say. $200 million isn't a ridiculous amount for commercial lending. There are single family loan officers who can do that much. But a $200 million producer may be making $400-500,000, depending on the economy, types of loan, structures, etc. Your highest quality borrowers probably have regular banking relationships so it's not easy to produce high quality CRE loans. They'll definitely be compensated well for bringing in the business.

Nov 29, 2013 - 11:50am

The issue really is the protection for the broker. For example, a broker obtains commitments from three different lender, the client can then go take that commitment to another lender - have them commit and then not pay a brokerage fee.

Nov 30, 2013 - 9:10pm

I like Prospie's take on it. Would agree with his whole statement. With that being said.

If we are comparing regional bank or national (wells, U.S) to HFF. Get the hell over to HFF right now.

Now 6 years ago HFF would have canned you and the bank may have held on to you. Now, unless you suck, they (HFF, CBRE, brokers) need people bad and movement upwards can be quick depending on location. Plus they usually spread you around from Investment Sales to Debt so you learn a bit of both (not always).

Dec 29, 2013 - 11:40pm

Producing $200MM / year in commercial lending is pretty rare - even in the large mid market groups at B of A, Wells (source - I was offered a job by Wells RCBO group and talked with all the people in that office).

Those groups do have large transactions but since it's Balance Sheet lending they typically will only hold $25M-$100MM max on a deal. And trust me, a $250MM deal in a mid-market setting doesn't come around a whole lot. But I guess it depends what market you're in.

My goal (at a regional Bank) is $30MM a year new biz while managing a portfolio of current clients/deals of ~$100MM. All-in comp for me is ~$200K if I am having an average year - $250K if I'm crushing.

That comp is similar for the BB mid-market groups at a VP level.

I've worked with loan brokers (including Marcus Millichap) and while they have to know some stuff, they're focus is not underwriting, analysis, etc etc. They make a very baseline info package with a tiny dose of a little u/w and go to market with it. Their job is a pure sales job and it is to get the client the best rate/fee/structure. They also get stuck collecting all financials, formation docs, etc. they can make some good coin but it is all commission and very cut throat - you eat what you kill.

Dec 30, 2013 - 1:15pm

I think pay and career path decisions depends on your talent and abilities. If your a natural born salesperson AKA a "hunter" your best off at a place like HFF in a gateway market (NY, SF, LA, Miami) where you can earn $500K+ a year. But remember, very few % of sales people out there are true "hunters". If your more of a farmer, working for a bank as a loan officer/RM where you originate and portfolio manage may be a better fit since it offers a generous base salary and you could hit $250K total comp in a great year.

Feb 9, 2014 - 8:56am

Thanks for all the info

Wise Men Listen & Laugh While Fools Talk
Feb 22, 2014 - 6:39pm

So I am an analyst at a commercial bank doing basic multifamily and commercial loans. Our small team does about 250 Million a year. I see what the brokers get paid, usually 1 or .75 percent, for literally forwarding rent rolls/documents from the client, and I am amazed. I understand brokers have to deal with the direct clients, but I think working for the lender requires deeper knowledge of finance and the entire transaction. What does an analyst at a mortgage brokerage make if their team has a lot of deal flow? How is compensation structured since their bosses(the mortgage broker) usually work on commission.

Just wondering because I am in a really good position now, but starting to think my compensation is not matching my earning potential. I am very interested in possibly transitioning to HFF or possibly a debt fund.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

May 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (35) $364
  • Associates (195) $233
  • 2nd Year Analyst (110) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (96) $145
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (26) $145
  • 1st Year Analyst (404) $131
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (330) $82